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Rehab Science faculty receive honors


Published December 11, 2020


Several faculty members in the Department of Rehabilitation Science recently were awarded some of the highest honors given to professionals in their fields.

James Lenker.

James Lenker, associate professor and director of the Advanced Graduate Certificate in Assistive and Rehabilitation Technology Program, was named a fellow of the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA).

The RESNA Hall of Fellows recognizes its members for their significant contributions to the organization and the field of assistive technology. Lenker received the honor for his decades of work alongside RESNA, as well as for his standing as an international expert in assistive technology. He also is a fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).

Patricia Ohtake.

The National Academies of Practice have named Patricia Ohtake, associate professor and assistant vice president for interprofessional education (IPE) in UB’s Academic Health Center, a distinguished fellow. The National Academies of Practice advances interprofessional health care by fostering collaboration and advocating policies in the best interest of individuals and communities. Its distinguished fellows have “an exemplary career of 10 years or more and have made significant contributions to interprofessional health care.”

The distinguished fellowship designation recognizes Ohtake’s leadership, vision and professional contributions in the advancement of interprofessional education and physical therapy. In the area of interprofessional education, she has led development of UB’s interprofessional education and practice initiatives, including a nationally recognized IPE Program and interprofessional research contributing to the discipline’s literature.

Through her research in physical therapy and education of physical therapy students she has made significant contributions to the advancement of rehabilitation for people in acute (hospital) and critical care settings, as well as rehabilitation for people with post-intensive care syndrome. The award recognizes not only Ohtake, but also UB as a national leader in the field of interprofessional education.

Sharon Ray.

Sharon Ray, clinical associate professor and co-director of the Rehabilitation Science PhD Program, received the Roster of Fellows Award from the AOTA, which recognizes occupational therapist members who, through their knowledge, expertise, leadership, advocacy and guidance, have made significant contributions to the profession over time, with a measured impact on consumers of OT services and AOTA members.

Ray was recognized for her lifelong work as a “consummate practitioner-scholar, tenacious advocate and empowering mentor.” She is a member of the Massachusetts Occupational Therapy Association and the New York State Therapy Association.

Janice Tona.

Janice Tona, clinical associate professor and director of the Occupational Therapy Program, received the President’s Award from the New York State Occupational Therapy Association (NYSOTA). The award recognizes significant contribution and exceptional dedication to the profession of occupational therapy.

Tona was selected for the award for her development of the NYSOTA Academic Affairs Alliance, a state-wide initiative in New York to connect OT faculty, fieldwork, capstone educators, program directors and students. Tona, who has been an occupational therapist for more than three decades and has worked in higher education for more than two decades, also is affiliated with the American Occupational Therapy Association.